Brazil, Mexico ask US to explain if NSA spied on presidents

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil assailed the United States yesterday after new allegations that Washington spied on President Dilma Rousseff, complaining that its sovereignty may have been violated and suggesting that it could call off Rousseff’s planned state visit to the White House next month.

Dilma Rousseff
Dilma Rousseff

A Brazilian news programme reported on Sunday that the US National Security Agency spied on emails, phone calls and text messages of Rousseff and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, a disclosure that could strain Washington’s relations with Latin America’s two biggest nations.

Mexico asked the United States to investigate the allegations, saying they would be a serious violation of its sovereignty if proven true.

Brazil’s government, already smarting from earlier reports that the NSA spied on the emails and phone calls of Brazilians, called in US ambassador Thomas Shannon and gave the US government until the end of the week to provide a written explanation of the new spying disclosures based on documents leaked by fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

“I expressed to (Shannon) the Brazilian government’s indignation over the facts revealed in the documents,” Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo said at a news conference.

“From our point of view, this is an inadmissible and unacceptable violation of Brazilian sovereignty,” he said.

Figueiredo declined to explicitly say whether the allegations could lead Rousseff to call off her visit to Washington, the only state visit offered by President Barack Obama this year. The trip had been intended to highlight improving US-Brazil ties since Rousseff took office in 2011.

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